“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” Of all the people groups on the face of the earth, the Lord chose the descendants of Jacob to be the first who were to have a lifestyle built around the privilege of praising Jehovah. Eventually He established a city, Jerusalem, which included a permanent place of national worship, and He gathered “the outcasts of Israel” so that they might be near Him. There He promised to give them health for their souls. In that solemn place of devotion, He made a way for their deepest wounds to be healed. The God who determined the number of the stars was prepared to lift up the humble among His chosen people, and to cast “the wicked to the ground.”
“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him.” How big and how diverse would that group eventually be? The Almighty has always provided for the stability of the vast expanse of His creation. Everything that was necessary for a fruitful atmosphere and bountiful land and seas came forth from His kind hand, not just for a small territory in the Middle East, but for the entire earth. The one who gave food to “young ravens that cry” revealed to Israel that they were of greater value to Him than the birds of the air. He had prepared a wonderful future for those “who hope in His steadfast love.” Could that mercy eventually be extended to Gentiles?
The elect of the Lord would not ultimately be limited to the Jews. All who would one day call upon the Name of Israel’s God would be saved. He would be a Father to a great host of beloved children. He would grant to them a new Jerusalem that would never be taken away. There they would be safe and would enjoy His great provision without end.
Why then start His plan for salvation with only one people group? During the time of preparation for a future Messiah, it was the Lord’s good will to form one holy people who would be different from all the other nations. They would be given His Law and His Word. They would be taught how to approach Him in customs of worship that were appropriate for that era of waiting. Eventually a Savior for the world would come from the Jews. Then the message of His good news for all of humanity would go forth from the old Jerusalem to the very ends of the earth. A vast new “Zion” would be formed from those who would believe in the Word that would come to them over the course of so many years.
The God who gives the gift of snow upon the mountaintops of every continent has now sent forth His holy message of peace through His Son. In days of old it could rightly be said of God’s special arrangement with the Jews, “He has not dealt thus with any other nation.” Eventually the time came for a much larger harvest of faithful worshipers. Now a vast new kingdom is learning Jehovah’s Law and embracing His sovereign provision for mercy through Jesus, the Son of God. It is “fitting” after these many centuries of gospel proclamation that every people group on earth should sing the songs of Israel and join with many Jews in sincere devotion. Together we testify before Almighty God that it is indeed “pleasant” to praise the Lord.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Lord, You know how sad we are in the day of death and loss, but You will bind up the deep wounds in our hearts. You lift us up to Your heavenly sanctuary even now in Christ our King. You continue to feed and to care for us, even though we cannot stop crying. You bless us and help our children, even when we do not understand what You are doing. You accomplish Your will in the heavens above and over all the lands and seas. You give us Your holy Word from heaven, and provide a Redeemer in the person of Your Son. Thank You for Your greatness and Your glory, and for the Comforter who has come to help us.